Rising Star Dr Niamh Merriman

Dr Niamh Merriman was awarded the rising star award at the 2019 OPSYRIS meeting in Oxford.

She is a post-doctoral research fellow on the StrokeCog project at Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). Her research focuses on the development and testing of a novel complex intervention aimed at improving outcomes for patients with post-stroke cognitive impairment (PSCI).

Currently, psychological involvement in stroke care, and cognitive rehabilitation, is severely limited in Ireland. The intervention has been developed using an evidence-based approach in accordance with the framework recommended for developing and evaluating complex interventions by the Medical Research Council (MRC). Dr Merriman has undertaken a systematic review of the evidence-base for effectiveness of non-RCT psychological interventions for PSCI, and is currently involved in a Cochrane review of RCT psychological interventions aimed at PSCI.

She has done extensive qualitative work with stroke survivors, carers, & healthcare professionals to identify stakeholder perceptions on intervention.

Currently, Dr Merriman is engaged in a series of carefully constructed feasibility studies to establish the feasibility of intervention components including recruitment, assessment, intervention content and delivery. Findings from the intervention development process have been published in BMJ Open and in Disability and Rehabilitation, and presented at the European Stroke Organisation Conference and OPSYRIS 2018. Following feasibility testing, the aim is to test a pilot intervention and ultimately conduct a definitive trial of a psychological intervention for PSCI.

Dr Merriman has extensive experience in intervention design, having previously conducted intervention studies in the area of multisensory perception and spatial navigation at Trinity College Dublin (where she was awarded her PhD in 2015) and Disney Research.

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